Impact Fellows FAQ

Ready to dive deeper into the world of Impact Fellows? Here are answers to some common questions.

What is the selection process for the Impact Fellows program?

We accept applications on a rolling basis. Our selection committee, consisting of Singularity University staff and faculty, reviews applications as they are received. Once you’ve submitted an application, you’ll be notified of our decision by email at least fourteen calendar days prior to the date of the program for which you’ve been selected. You will then be asked to submit online forms signifying your formal acceptance of the Fellowship and the program’s terms and conditions.

What are you looking for in potential Fellows?

We’re looking for visionary leaders who intend to use exponentially advancing technologies is solve what we call global grand challenges (GGCs). If you’re a battle-tested, dedicated leader and are equipped to make meaningful and sustained impact in your chosen field, we want to hear from you!

You’re a strong candidate if one or more of the following describe you:

  • Social impact rockstar in a nonprofit, NGO, or government agency
  • Tech-domain expert or innovation leader focused on social impact
  • Academic leader who’s training the next generation in entrepreneurship and technology
  • Global citizen, especially from a developing or emerging market
  • Innovative entrepreneur or investor leveraging cutting-edge tech for social good

You’re an excellent candidate if you possess the above expertise in social impact and also have:

  • Potential to create impact using technology, as demonstrated by ideas presented in your work plan
  • Excellent professional performance and a demonstrated record of achievement

What are the selection criteria for the program?

Specifically, we evaluate Impact Fellow candidates according to the following selection criteria:

  • Demonstrated potential to contribute to community diversity
  • Ability to create exponential impact
  • Professional performance and achievements
  • Expertise focused on social impact

What benefits do Impact Fellows receive?

If you’re selected as an Impact Fellow, you will receive:

  • Program fees to cover entrance into the program for which you have been selected (one of the following):
    • Conference (2-4 days)
    • Executive Program (up to 6 days)
    • Summit (1-3 days)
  • Recognition on our website and at the selected program
  • Connection to the global SU network
  • Speaking opportunities at SU programs or events, as requested
  • Recognition of project outcomes as an SU Impact Initiative
  • Lodging expenses, if participating in the Executive Program only

What expenses are not covered by the program?

The Impact Fellows program does not provide funding for the following:

  • Travel expenses to/from the selected program
  • Lodging expenses for participation in Conferences or Summits
  • Stipends for living expenses, seed funding for their Impact Initiative, or other funding
  • Leisure and entertainment expenses while attending the selected program
  • Travel visa fees, if required

What are the preconditions to final acceptance?

In order to be considered for the Impact Fellows program, you must:

  • Be age 21 or older on the first day of the applicable program
  • Meet all application requirements for your selected program
  • Have a valid US passport or be able to promptly secure a visa that permits travel to/from the United States and permission to stay in the United States to attend the selected program
  • Agree to applicable program agreements, terms and conditions, and policies

What are the Fellowship requirements?

To complete the fellowship, you will be expected to:

  • Attend your selected program (Executive Program, Exponential Conference, or Summit)
  • Participate for the remainder of the program year following the end of your selected program (this is a remote program, and Impact Fellows are neither expected nor encouraged to remain at SU during the fellowship period)
  • Prepare, and submit to Impact Fellowship Program Manager for approval, a detailed work plan targeting achievements, milestones, and success metrics for the fellowship period to include (as applicable):
    • Interviews, written articles or posts
    • Featured video describing your experience at Singularity University
    • Presentation or facilitation of an SU program following the selected program, as requested by SU (travel and lodging expenses will be reimbursed by SU, however no speaking honorarium or other speaking fee will be provided)
    • Close-out report within 30 days after the final day of the fellowship period, detailing your achievement outcomes as determined by the success milestones articulated in the approved work plan, as well as your suggestions for improving the Impact Fellowship
    • Final Impact Fellowship program documentation, including video, pictures or other participation updates at the frequency and in the format detailed in the work plan
  • Meet with Impact Fellowship Program Manager to finalize and approve the work plan for the Fellowship period
  • Submit timely reports, documentation, and communication, as detailed in the approved work plan
  • Attend required program meetings (e.g., regularly scheduled check-ins, one-on-one meetings, project presentations, etc.)

All of this sounds amazing. Can SU alumni apply?

Unfortunately, no. Singularity University Impact Fellows is open to those who have not previously attended an SU program. It is our intention to expose new global changemakers to SU programming who have not yet had the opportunity, especially those who do not have the ability to pay. We do invite our alumni to recommend leaders in their regions as we search for social impact and innovation rockstars from all corners of the globe.

What expenses would I need to cover in order to be an Impact Fellow?

In our programs, we aim to convene an inclusive and collaborative community of innovators from around the globe. We’re especially interested in broadening the SU community beyond the artificial barriers of gender, sector, and geography. And we want to ensure that participants don’t have to worry about the ability to pay.

As a result, if you are accepted to the Impact Fellows program, SU will completely waive the program fees (up to $14,000 USD) so you can join us—free of charge—at either our Executive Program or one of our Exponential Conferences (Exponential Medicine, Exponential Finance, Exponential Manufacturing, or the SU Global Summit). However, SU does not cover travel expenses to/from the program (or lodging if you choose to attend one of the Conferences or Summits).

Does my application need to discuss a new idea or venture? Or can I apply with a startup I've already founded?

You can apply with either a new idea/venture or an existing one. However, keep in mind that one of the key purposes of the Impact Fellows program is to create new social Impact Initiatives all around the world. To fulfill the requirements of the program, your Impact Initiative has to be something new that you create. If you already have a startup, your work plan can be based on that existing organization if desired—however, your Impact Initiative would need to be an organizational innovation such as a new business model or a new product.

Can I attend this program if I am part of another fellowship program?

Yes. Selection into the Singularity University Impact Fellows program is independent of participation in any outside fellowship. However, we expect your full engagement, and you should ensure you’ll be able to manage all of your commitments if you’re accepted and choose to join the program.

Do I need to participate in-person for the whole year?

No. As an Impact Fellow, you will spend the first part of the program in Silicon Valley (or the location of your selected Conference or Summit) for up to a week for the educational program you choose to attend, in order to gain an exponential mindset. Afterwards, you’ll return to your community to implement your Impact Initiative. Over the course of the remaining year, you may be asked to check in at various meetings or events. You would be able to attend these meetings either in person (at your own expense) or remotely.

What are the start and end dates of the program?

Once accepted to the Fellowship, the program will begin with your learning experience at Singularity University, either at the Executive Program or one of our Exponential Summits, where you will gain an exponential mindset before returning to your community to implement your Impact Initiative. The Fellowship start date is dependent on when the selected program begins. The program will end one year later. Over the course of the intervening year, you will gain the tools, ideas, and connections you need to dream, design, and deliver transformational social impact by leveraging exponential technologies.

For the idea presented in my work plan, am I completing the project alone or I am pulling together a team to apply with me?

The Impact Fellows program is for individual applicants. However, you may require a team (or start a company) in order to launch a major project or initiative. We do not limit who you work with on your Impact Initiative. Your application will not be evaluated based on how many people you do or do not plan to work with.

Does participation in the program require quitting my current job? If so, is there some sort of stipend to help make ends meet?

We do not require you to quit your job to participate as an Impact Fellow. However, all Fellows are required spend the first part of their fellowship in Silicon Valley (or the location of the conference) for up to a week at either our Executive Program or one of our Exponential Conferences, before returning home to implement their Impact Initiatives. Depending on your employer, you may need to request time off to attend the educational program for which you are selected. How much time you dedicate to your Impact Initiative thereafter, and whether or not that requires you to discontinue employment or take a leave of absence, is completely up to you. Some Fellows will quit their jobs to start a new company, while others will continue working while they implement an internal project within their current company. Either way, we do not provide stipends.

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